Almost half of all investigations finalised by the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) in the North Coast region since 2019 have resulted in enforcement actions.
Statewide, the percentage of investigations finalised resulting in an enforcement action by NRAR is 30 per cent.
NRAR Director Water Regulation East, Gregory Abood said these results highlighted changing attitudes toward water laws in NSW.
Public reporting of NRAR’s water law enforcement activities in NSW began in mid-2019 and the latest data for January to March this year has been added to the tally.
The data shows that 686 investigations were completed in the North Coast area since mid 2019 with 315 enforcement actions against rule breakers – representing a strike rate of more than 46 per cent.
The number of investigations and enforcement actions on the North Coast for the period was the highest in NSW. NRAR enforces the law to ensure fairness to those who comply with NSW water laws.
Enforcement actions on the North Coast include fines (80), orders to carry out remedial work or stop work (111), and formal warnings to comply (124).
The North Coast is one of three regions in NSW whose percentage of enforcement actions from finalised investigations was well above the state average. The others are Murrumbidgee and Gwydir.
There are 14 water sharing plan regions in the state.
“We’ve been very successful in encouraging a shift towards voluntary compliance among the State’s water users,” Mr Abood said.
“Part of that has been actively enforcing the law, we have more than 4000 completed investigations under our belt, but part has also been in our commitment to transparent reporting,” he said.
“We put forward our enforcement figures every quarter for people to see what, where and when we do it,” he said.
“This quarter’s enforcement action numbers are lower than some periods in previous years due in part to our proactive approach. We’re more proactive to raise awareness of the rules and intervene early and prevent ongoing harm.
“We are focusing our proactive regulatory effort over the next twelve months on water take for irrigated agriculture on the north coast.
“Over time, the numbers should continue to give the public confidence that the laws are being enforced for the benefit of everyone.”
The quarterly reporting tool allows users to see the numbers at state, regional and local government area scale.
See how NRAR is enforcing NSW water laws in your area here